Week 17 4-22-22 “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”
Changing Lives through Dancing by David Woodbury
Arthur Murray Santa Monica
“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894)
When covid arrived and abruptly shut us down, we had just “arrived” at a new level of productivity at Arthur Murray Santa Monica. Then, boom, we were closed overnight.
I remember awaiting to see if Disneyland was going to shut down, and when it did, I knew that we would be next. Then, there was silence. The world shut down.
We quickly realigned ourselves to a Zoom dance school and Arthur Murray Schools around the world reinvented themselves. Suddenly, our students were taking their dancing lessons in their living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens on Zoom. We even taught our group classes from our living room and had our dance parties (with a little help with some liquid courage since no one was driving!)
Our little boy Boo would walk into the center of the camera view area many, many times and just sat there while we danced. He and his sister became famous cats in the Arthur Murray world. Sometimes Boo would lift his little leg and clean his little business right in the middle of teaching a virtual class. We called it his “yoga” position. Embarrassing and funny at the same time!
So where is our “arrival” now? Well, it’s the coming every day, step by step, more and more. Our true success is once again in the labor just as it was in the beginning when we first opened. In fact, all our energy is now just as strong as it was in the beginning.
“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — which no other man can ever know.”
– Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924)
My partner and I are not allergic to work, but we mostly enjoy what comes from the work. And as our quote says, in this new post covid world, we are truly finding a new reality that can only come from our “regrowth” and “renewal”. I am always so drawn to those who know what giving service is all about. Those who are self-starters, leaders and volunteers and organizers. They usually have no fear of being with others and they can speak to one person, or to hundreds. They are the ones who volunteer first, the ones who start the conversation, the ones who develop and organize an event that will serve and benefit others. They are the people who know their own reality, and that reality is giving back to others.
I am a home cook (Lucky Joel!) and I am a gourmet and a gourmand. I love searching out recipes, planning, studying, taking Zoom classes. I love planning my trips to the market. Sometimes requiring two to three visits during the week so the food is very fresh. I am hooked on YouTube videos and I have now taken three recent full-week classes/challenges to learn to cook. I love prepping the night before each meal. Then I love the whole experience of taking out raw ingredients, and by adding heat and combinations, produce great meals. (I know this organize passion has all come from 45+ years of Arthur Murray training as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer!)
I am a cook who cleans as I go along. Joel is an amazing sous chef, but my kitchen is small, and I must wash and put away as I go. My goal is to have a completely clean kitchen when I serve Joel his meals. This leads to the whole point of this subject…my kitchen towels. I start off cooking a meal with an empty trash can and two to four fresh towels. I have specific towels for drying plates, etc. Some are just hand towels. Then, I have my work towels. They take a beating. I wipe, hold very hot dishes, pick up splashes, quick hand cleanings, emergency spills, and quick personal cleaning when I open a tube of tomato paste and it splatters all over me in a million micro droplets.
Joel and I are those kitchen towels. We have always been the hardest workers doing the most challenging tasks. We have and are the self-starters. We’ll wash the last dish, take out the worst trash and mop the floors. We’ll scale the ladders and put up the posters. You can wring us out, wash us off, set us up to dry and wash us over and over.
As a result of being the “best towels” we became business owners at Arthur Murray Santa Monica. We’ve always been “employable” for everyone has known that we’ll work the hardest and then work a little bit more. We’ve never considered “getting paid” for our extra time. We just got the job done.
Our closest friends are also “Kitchen Towels”. They have always “gone the extra mile” and worked the best, longest, hardest and never complained. They are ALL either Arthur Murray franchisees, traveling consultants, organizers, entrepreneurs, and are usually all of the above. They are all success stories who have never had it handed to them, they have reached out and grabbed their own success without any excuses or complaints. They are Arthur Murray “kitchen towels”. They’re schools all remained open during and now during covid.
“The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.”
– Wang Yang-Ming (1472 – 1529)
When I began cooking, it was a comical disaster. My first time making a dinner for guests in my home, the guests were all cooks, and it was a stir fry. The recipe called for jalapenos cut and cooked in a wok. The directions said to wear gloves. Well, I did not use gloves, and as I was cutting the peppers, my nose itched. I scratched it, and is while I was at it, I wiped my mouth with my fingers. Just as I was finishing slicing the peppers, my eyes began to burn, and I rubbed my eyes with both hands.
In a heartbeat, I began to burn, and my nose, lips and eyes began to swell. My guests came in and washed me down and applied ice. Well, I did finish the meal and it was delicious and we all had a good laugh at my appearance and my cooking boo boo.
Another time I had a dinner party with my cooking coach attending. Filet mignon, green beans and potatoes and chocolate souffles. As I was finishing the filets, I said to myself “Do not touch the skillet!” It had just been in a 450 degree oven. So, in my hast, I picked up the skillet and heard this sound “szzzzsssszz” and I had burned my hand. I wrapped my hand in ice. As I served the meal, I put the chocolate souffles in the over and then pulled them out during the meal.
We had a great supper and when I went in to serve the souffles, they were as flat as pancakes. Everyone came in to see disaster #2 after burning my hand. We filled the ramakins with ice cream and sat at the table, laughing and enjoying our delicious desserts! Trust me, I have learned from my cooking escapades!
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
– Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – 2008)
British Science Fiction Writer
“Man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it.”
During the past two and a half years, Arthur Murray has overcome and survived the global pandemic. Rather than closing our schools, we reinvented ourselves and weathered the storm. It was easier in some areas, and nearly impossible in others. Even today there is another new surge of covid just as the mask restrictions have been lifted in the US.
I’m moving on. I’m being careful (wearing a mask as I type at the school) and I just had the most recent Moderna booster shot. I’m going to live my life as well and as safely as I can. At home, at Arthur Murray, at church, I’m going to be the best I can be to be safe.
Thanks for reading. Keep on Dancing. Stay well. Don’t give up. It will get better.
David Woodbury – Arthur Murray Santa Monica, CA
Love you all,